Here are the treats I took for the cookie exchange we had with my extended family over the weekend.
In the first photo are Raspberry Coconut Bars. I found the recipe in Taste of Home magazine, but instead of the raspberry preserves called for, I used Raspberry-Mango Fruit Spread from Aldi. I'm not a jelly/jam/preserves eater, but that stuff has fantastic flavor!
The second photo is of Cherry Walnut Bars, and the recipe is from the cookbook "500 Best Cookies, Bars & Squares". I don't like the way they cut (or should I say, didn't cut), but they are delicious. The topping is similar in texture to a pecan pie, but the flavor is entirely different.
Raspberry Coconut Bars
1-2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2-2/3 cups flaked coconut
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup vanilla or white chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into a greased 13" x 9" baking dish. Sprinkle with coconut and drizzle with condensed milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Spread preserves over the crust. Sprinkle with walnuts. In a microwave-safe dish, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Drizzle over walnuts. Repeat with vanilla chips. Cut into bars. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until chocolate is set.
Makes 24 bars.
Notes: I think the bars would make a better presentation if the nuts were sprinkled on last, over the top of the chocolate drizzle, instead of under it.
Cherry Nut Bars
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chocolate sundae topping (can use chocolate syrup in a pinch)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix together flour and slat.
In a medium bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg yolks until incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Blend in flour mixture.
Spread evenly in greased 9" square pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool slightly.
In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold in flour, then chocolate topping, coconut, cherries and nuts.
Spread evenly over top of warm base. Bake 18-20 minutes longer. Place plan on a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into bars.
Makes 16 bars.
A Little Thing To Save Money: Consolidate your baking so that you don't have to heat the oven several times during the day or week.
A Little Thing To Save Time: When drizzling melted chocolate, such as in the first recipe above, I find it quicker and easier to spoon the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag, clip a small bit off the corner of the bag and then squeeze the chocolate in a thin stream rather than trying to drizzle it with a spoon.